Hundreds Enjoy Marshall County’s First Responder Activities

GLEN DALE — At first, Josie Novel acted a little timid about getting too close to K-9 Officer Spartan during a community day for Marshall County first responders.

But soon, the 6-year-old was smiling Saturday while holding his leash as her grandfather and Spartan’s handler — Marshall County Deputy Sheriff Nate Klempa — encouraged the Moundsville girl.

“She wanted to come out and see the trucks, see the pumps,” said her grandfather, Tony Novel, who is the communications coordinator for Marshall County 911 and Office of Emergency Management Agency. “It’s been a very good turnout. They invited all the departments in the county, and I think the majority of the fire departments are here.”

Equipment and personnel from Moundsville, Moundsville Volunteer, Glen Dale, Benwood, McMechen, Roberts Ridge, St. Joseph, Dallas and Boggs Run fire departments participated in the event. Marshall County Office of Emergency Management and 911 also were there, as were members of the West Virginia State Police in Moundsville, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office and Glen Dale police, Novel said.

Although HealthNet’s medical helicopter also had been at the event in the John Marshall High School parking lot earlier in the day, it had to leave on an emergency call.

The event was sponsored by HealthNet Aeromedical Services, Chevron Appalachia LLC and the Marshall County Commission. Although Marshall County EMS sent invitations to elementary school students at Marshall County Schools, the main goal of the event was to help recruit new first responders for the various departments throughout the county.

“They wanted to find a way to give back to the community,” said Alicia Wade, a paramedic with Glen Dale Volunteer Fire Department and flight nurse with HealthNet. “The (fire department) chiefs said several people have asked them to join as first responders.”

The first-ever event proved popular. By mid-afternoon, several hundred people had come to participate, Wade said. The event started at 10 a.m.

Although some were looking to join the ranks of the fire departments, others spent time at the event letting their kids play with police dogs, climb over fire equipment and jump on inflatables.

“It was something to do to get out,” said Brandi Alderman, of Moundsville, as her daughter, Geanne Woods, was getting her face painted. “Otherwise, I’m stuck in the house with four kids 24/7.”

Meanwhile, 4-year-old Braden Poling, of McMechen, was trying out the front seat of a fire truck from Boggs Run. As with many of the kids, Braden had come home with a flyer about the event from school, according to his mom, Cherie Poling. Braden is in the pre-K program at Center McMechen Elementary School.

“He loves the fire trucks and all that kind of stuff,” Cherie Poling said.

Others drove from a little farther away.

“It was something fun to do,” said Elm Grove resident Kylee Saldivar whose 6-year-old son, Kaden, also got a flyer at school.

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